picture of watering can, twine, garden tools, plants

Garden Tips: Ten Ideas to Make Your Gardening Easier – and Cheaper

This week Master Gardener and Master Naturalist Don Philpott (dp@mediawiseus.com) offers up some gardening tips to try in your garden.  Read Don’s other articles [here].

Here are some gardening tips that I have found on the Internet over the years which you may want to try. None of these are my ideas, but I am happy to pass them on.

  1. Make a drip feeder using an old soda bottle. Most plants do better when the water is delivered to their roots rather than from overhead. Just make some holes using a BBQ skewer or similar, in a liter soda bottle, fill with water and place in the ground next to the plant. This allows a slow release of water and prevents fungus.
  2. The pot-in-a-pot method is one which you can use to solve a whole lot of gardening problems. You put your plant in one pot which then sits in another. You can then move things around with ease, without upsetting the plants nearly as much—great if you are experimenting with light conditions and such.
  3. An easy way to solve overwatering tomatoes and drenching the leaves, is to take an old office garbage can, drill two rows of holes in it – one around the middle and the other near the top, add a couple of shovelfuls of compost and place it in the ground with about four tomato plants around it. The rim of the can should be at ground level. Fill the can with water every two days or as needed and watch those plants take off.
  4. Another good tip if you like your tomatoes even sweeter and juicier is to sprinkle some baking soda on the soil around the plant but not on it.  The baking soda is a base and counteracts the acidity in the tomatoes.  The result?  Sweeter tomatoes.
  5. You can grow roses in Central Florida and one of the easiest ways to grow them is by taking cuttings.  Stick the rose cutting into a potato and push both into the ground.  The potato keeps your cuttings moist while roots are developing.
  6. If you like strawberries but have limited space, make your own strawberry tower. Stack the pots vertically so that the strawberries can be

    Homemade Strawberry Towers are Simple!

    planted around the edges of each pot and then grown down. A watering bottle (see tip 1) is placed in the top pot and this allows the water to drip gradually down through the whole tower.

  7. With all this summer rain, mosquitos are a problem. Keep them away by strategically planting herbs which naturally repel them – catnip, lemon grass, citronella geranium, lemon thyme and so on. Scientists have found that planting a combination of these plants is the most effective. Plant them in a pot and you can move it around from deck to back yard – wherever you are hanging out. Many of these plants have other uses so you can use them in your recipes later.
  8. If you use K-cups for coffee that can equal a lot of trash, so utilize them – they are the perfect size for seed starters. Just remember to label them.
  9. And talking about labels, if you enjoy the odd glass of wine, why not use the corks as plant markers. Just write on the corks with an indelible marker and peg them into the soil.
  10. Clear plastic bins are awesome for just about everything.  As it turns out, one of their many applications is in gardening.  These bins can serve beautifully as mini-greenhouses for growing seedlings. They are cheap and versatile and can have other applications off-season.

    Use plastic bins as mini greenhouses for your seedlings!

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